Any of various fungi belonging to the phylum Zygomycota, characterized by the absence of cross walls (called septa) in all of their hyphae except reproductive hyphae. The absence of septa allows cytoplasm to stream along the hyphae, and most species produce abundant, fast-growing hyphae. Many species of zygomycetes live on decaying plant and animal matter in soil, though some are parasites on plants, insects, and certain soil animals, and a few cause disease in domestic animals and humans. Zygomycetes reproduce both by producing asexual haploid spores in conidia at the end of their hyphae and by producing sexual haploid spores by meiosis after hyphae of different mating types conjugate and their nuclei fuse.
Any of numerous fungi of the division Zygomycota, characterized by a sexual phase of the life cycle during which specialized hyphae fuse to form a zygospore, and including various food molds.
Origin of zygomycete
- zygo– (in reference to the formation of the zygospore) –mycete
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition